Senior Lecturer Sharon Comstock has been named to the first roster for the Public Library Data Alliance (PLDA) by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). Representing an array of stakeholders, this group will continue the work of the COSLA's Measures that Matter initiative.
The dozen founding members of the PLDA will work from ideas and concepts put forward by the Measures that Matter Action Plan Implementation Group, of which Comstock was a member. This work is expected to generate additional projects led by working groups comprised of subject matter experts and stakeholders drawn from volunteers beyond the core PLDA membership.
The vision for the PLDA includes promoting thought leadership, coordination, commitment, resources, and momentum. It will engage broadly with diverse stakeholders to propose strategic actions around data that reflect the role and impact of public libraries at the local, regional, state, and national levels, and also create a communications infrastructure for the field.
"All of us share a deep passion for and long-term dedication to the core motivations behind the founding of PLDA," Comstock said. "Very few professions have more than 100 years' worth of data sets. Library staff past and present have a demonstrated commitment to measurement, and I think our opportunity now is to ask different questions. Community inquiry starts with a belief that the community is where the knowledge is."
Formation of the PLDA was one of the recommendations resulting from the Measures that Matter initiative. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS RE-0016-0181-16), the initiative centered on coordinating conversation and action around public library data gathering and use, allowing libraries to continuously improve services aligned with community needs and accurately represent the rich story of the twenty-first century public library.
Comstock joined the iSchool in August 2019. She was previously an inquiry and impact officer at the Evansville (IN) Vanderburgh Public Library and adjunct instructor at Kent State University. Comstock holds a PhD in library and information science from Illinois and an MA from Northwestern University.